man working in a retail store
Customer Communications Management (CCM) software eliminates inefficient manual processes that strain time and resources. PHOTO: Fouquier

You'd think most business today would have tools that streamline and expedite mission-critical processes like systematic customer communications.

Yet a surprising number don’t. 

Many still rely on time-consuming manual procedures and outmoded legacy systems that are inefficient and fraught with the potential for human error, which frustrate customers and create financial waste.

The Evolution of Customer Communications

Customer Communications Management (CCM) software, also known as Correspondence Management (CM) software, helps eliminate inefficiencies, mistakes and unnecessary costs associated with obsolete or manual processes.

It also allows for hyper-personalized communications because these systems typically utilize automated data capture and transformation. 

Variable data-driven customer communications are thus produced instantaneously (assuming the source data is accurate and error-free).

The Benefits of CCM Software

Once implemented, correspondence management can provide numerous benefits while alleviating the following problems:

  • Unwieldy creation of complex documents
  • Risk of penalties/fines for not adhering to strict industry regulatory requirements
  • Bottlenecks in execution due to a lack of customer data management automation
  • Errors resulting from reliance on manual intervention or information input
  • Slow time to market response/communications
  • Lack of process integration leading to customers and stakeholders getting irrelevant or untimely information
  • Drain on human resources from overreliance to compensate for obsolete systems

CCM Software and the Customer Experience

Customer Communications Management software fosters customer engagement by helping organizations leverage data to deliver relevant and accurate communications to the right target at the right time.

Elevating the customer experience is one reason businesses are investing in end-to-end solutions that automate, centralize and streamline communications. However, another key objective is to create internal operational efficiencies.

Tools for automating correspondence management give customer communications the leverage needed to manage and purpose the increasing amount of data entering an organization through multiple channels.

This enables the delivery of germane communications through customers’ preferred channels.

A hospital call center serving more than 400 hospitals nationwide saw improved customer engagement after implementing a CCM solution. The call center, which handles physician referrals, appointment scheduling and hospital class/event registration, was responsible for generating more than 100,000 variable communications every month.

Correspondence had to be personalized with content specific to each patient call, but also customized to the correct hospital brand and their exact communications variants.

The company implemented a CCM system that automated the collection of caller information, properly generated data for output, created and modified communications in real time, integrated digital print and expedited fulfillment services.

Results: With quicker, personalized patient communication, the call center’s hospital clients saw increased physician referrals, plus increased training and event registrations that exceeded the organization’s goals.

Benefits of Automating Processes

CCM systems eliminate inefficient manual processes that strain time and resources, helping businesses expedite operations and reduce the support required. Automating and managing correspondence supports businesses by refocusing resources while improving quality and accuracy.

A Fortune 500 financial services company, offering insurance, financial planning and advisory services, is required to send periodic communications, such as fee disclosures, to plan participants. One critical element is timeliness; in this industry, missing delivery deadlines is problematic and can lead to regulatory fines/penalties.

During peak periods, the company hired temporary staff and worked dramatically extended hours to ensure deadlines and compliance requirements were met.

By implementing a custom cloud-based CCM system featuring automated data integration and instantaneous error checking, the institution realized quicker turnaround times, fewer errors and more efficiency.

It was able to do away with temporary help, thus reducing stress to their HR resources and extraneous labor costs.

CCM Improves Compliance

A 2015 PwC report highlighted correspondent banks or financial institutions providing services on behalf of other financial institutions. Rising compliance costs cause the severance of correspondent bank relationships. However, a customer communications management system can help offset these challenges.

Rather than the parent institution maintaining individual relationships with each correspondent bank, a correspondence management tool can be implemented to perform tasks automatically.

This helps disseminate compliance regulations, keeping each up-to-date about appropriate messaging and monitoring communications to ensure their customers are protected, all without errors and burdens placed on internal managers or costly IT resources.

Customer communications management software can help in many industries. It allows large-scale, high-volume communications to be customized and quickly distributed with the most current content and language.

Communications can be planned and executed across both corporate and local levels, so enterprises can to retain relationships with local vendors and be confident all correspondence is compliant.

CCM Helps Healthcare Providers

Healthcare is another industry where compliance is paramount. Many hospitals and healthcare providers use patient experience services companies, which must know the nuanced standards of each provider.

Besides ensuring compliance, providers must be able to provide accurate correspondence to all their patients with a multitude of customer data variables. Precise monitoring of records, to ensure healthcare providers and customers are satisfied, is unwieldy and nearly impossible for customer service representatives to do manually.

Searching across records must happen seamlessly and quickly and a CCM system allows communications to be correctly stored, searchable and accessible.

Correspondence securely stored in the cloud allows authorized users to make changes in real time to scripts and language for mailings, plus gives insights into correspondence outcomes, which may lead to refined messaging or other modifications.

An Industry Agnostic Solution

Regardless of industry, CCM software can help an organization reduce costs and improve the accuracy and quality of its communications.

It can augment customer service efforts, prevent unnecessary phone and web inquiries and improve records accuracy and documentation, which all contribute to helping help businesses remain competitive. Holding on to manual processes can be dangerous. Therefore, CCM is a smart solution forward-thinking companies are embracing.